HOW TO – Make Tamiflu

The BBC has an article about a better way to make Tamiflu, the ant-viral drug a lot of the world might need if/when we have a pandemic flu. The new approach uses the plant star anise, grown in the mountains in China – “A Nobel laureate has devised a new way to make the anti-flu drug Tamiflu that is simpler and quicker than the process employed to produce it right now. Elias Corey’s hope is that his novel approach will mean the drug is cheaper to manufacture and more plentiful. “ – [via] Link.

And more – New Routes To Tamiflu Emerge…the Japanese researchers have applied for a patent, Corey and coworkers have put their process in the public domain. “I hope the work will stimulate others to work on different ways of synthesizing Tamiflu,” Corey says. “Although our route is already very efficient, it’s conceivable that when you put new developments together, you’ll have an even better and cheaper process. I think the Tamiflu supply problem is solved.”– Link.

Last up – The recipe, A Short Enantioselective Pathway for the Synthesis of the Anti-Influenza Neuramidase Inhibitor Oseltamivir from 1,3-Butadiene and Acrylic AcidLink.

12 thoughts on “HOW TO – Make Tamiflu

  1. This is very cool. Particularly interesting is the approach of Corey and colleagues in the application of an open-source approach towards the development and improvement on an importan process. I wonder if other chemists will join in the fray for a friendly competition to see who can come up with the best (open) process for making Tamiflu.

  2. probably not. the hurdles to bringing a drug to market (at least in the US) include millions of dollars worth of testing and prototyping to satisfy FDA requirements. nobody’s going to ‘open source’ that risk.

  3. Ok, so I have my dremel and twist ties ready, but Im stuck at step 10 with the way the carbon ring and extra hydrogen keep collapsing my molecule and spewing green smoke all over the kitchen. Has anyone else gotten this far in the Tamiflu process?

  4. Actually, the interest in the open source approach was not so much around the possibility of making the drugs outside of the highly controlled pharma manufacturing and testing environment, but that the concept of an open-source approach to the synthesis process that is interesting, and a complement to the general practice of highly proprietary behavior in pharma companies.

    I am mostly interested to see if the company manufacturing the drug validates and implements the new process, and to see if generic companies set up production lines to support the manufacture of the compound in the event that demand causes the Government to more widely source the compound.

  5. AKA: How to get a bunch of people to create the next superflu by self-diagnosing and forcing the virus to evolve further.

  6. The new approach is better because it avoids having to extract shikimic acid from star anise, which is the rate-limiting ingredient in the old process.

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